Spirited show is not enough as Worthing win
Clifton's season came to a disappointing end against a youthful Worthing side, but they can take cred from the nature of their spirited performance.
At the beginning of the season, Worthing's coaching staff targeted a top three finish and this was just achieved after winning 23 out of 30 games played. They produced some excellent running and support rugby, which Clifton had difficulty containing.
In truth, the final scoreline flattered Worthing as they scored a try in the last action of both halves.
The visitors can take much credit from their performance as a long injury list, forced them to field a patched up side. Despite this, they were the better side at the end of both halves and clearly had a distinct edge at the scrum.
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The visitors had no regular centres available, so back row men Mitch Eadie and Harrison Tovey slotted into these berths and looked naturals.
Another player to emerge with credit was normal hooker Paul Fincken, who played at open side.
Another big plus was the display of Gareth Mason, who in a lengthy Clifton career was making only his third senior outing. His catching of the high ball in difficult conditions was excellent and in one-on-one situations he came out on top.
The home side scored three tries in the first half through scrum-half Joe Govett, hooker Mickey Pointing and full-back Matt McLean, with McLean landing two conversions.
The tactical kicking of Clifton half-backs Ben Roberts and Sam Smee kept Worthing away from the visitors half and it was no surprise when Roberts put Clifton on the board with a penalty
Clifton then produced a magnificent display of defensive work towards the end of the first half as the home side had possession moving the ball from side to side for a spell of five minutes and, without a tackle being missed, they made no progress and eventually were forced to kick the ball away.
Almost immediately, the exercise was repeated but Worthing were closer to the line this time. Eventually McLean dived in at the corner and, despite the full back losing the ball as he dived over the line, the referee awarded a try.
Two second-half tries from McLean plus tries from replacement Matt Farnes and winger Alex Nielson all saw the home side pull away.
The pattern of the game changed as the home pack became ill disciplined and Clifton's forwards took total control in the final quarter.
Their reward came when flanker Darren Barry went over from close range with Roberts converting.
They maintained pressure, but Worthing broke away and centre Kiba Richards dived over with McLean adding the extras.